North Korea fires missile ahead of Trump summit with Xi

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave a terse response to the North's latest provocation, saying "the United States has spoken enough about North Korea".

The move came after the reclusive state warned it will retaliate if the global community ramps up sanctions over its latest round of weapons tests.

North Korea on Wednesday fired yet another missile into the sea, prompting the White House to repeat its warning that "all options" are on the table to deal with North Korea.

North Korea has launched a KN-15 missile from its eastern coast into the Sea of Japan, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

"The launch took place possibly in consideration of the US-China summit, while at the same time it was to check its missile capability", a South Korean official told Reuters about the military's initial assessment of the launch.

"We have no further comment", Tillerson said in the statement.

But trading was light ahead of USA data releases and meetings later in the week between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.

A three-day military drill between South Korea and the United States kicked off yesterday.

"There's absolutely no reason for North Korea to fire the KN-15 again this way; the launch measurements show something similar to when developing missiles are flight-tested for the first time for data-gathering purposes", he said.

"U.S. Pacific Command detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch at 11:42 a.m. Hawaii time April 4", said Commander David Benham, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command, in a statement.

Pyongyang is barred under United Nations resolutions from carrying out ballistic missile launches or nuclear tests. Or was the launch just part of its broader missile development programs, with outsiders reading too much from a routine weapons test?

- October 20, 2016: North Korea launches what appears to be an intermediate-range Musudan ballistic missile, but the test ends in failure. Trump has called on Beijing, Pyongyang's closest ally, to exert more pressure on Kim Jong-un's regime to abandon the development of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

In January, Jeffrey Lewis, a nonproliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, wrote in Foreign Policy that "the whole policy debate has been an absurd carnival of panic, bellicosity and partisanship", despite the possibility of stalling North Korean missile tests via diplomatic means. In accordance with the policy, the USA maintains only unofficial ties with the Taiwanese government.

"Well, if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will", Trump said.

The Japanese government estimated the projectile did not land within its exclusive economic zone, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in a briefing Wednesday morning.

Usually when discussing North Korea, Trump has a habit of attacking China.

Compounding hitters, April is an important month in the North Korean calendar and the regime likes to mark important dates with fireworks - both with firework displays in the center of Pyongyang and with missile flares.

"China has great influence over North Korea".

Adding urgency to the issue, North Korea fired off a missile one day before the summit, ... an action interpreted as a message that sanctions and a hard-line policy on the North will not be effective.

North Korea launches the Unha-2 rocket at the Musudan-ri launch site with the attendance of leader Kim Jong-il and his son Kim Jong-un.

  • Joanne Flowers